Each of the stories, poems, and essays in Almost Heaven is about the appearance of a divine moment or presence--which may take many forms and names. One such presence is depicted here in the play Damien, by Aldyth Morris, based on the Belgian priest who cared for victims of leprosy on the island of Moloka'i. Some moments of goodness are large and celebrated, as in the lives of saints such as Father Damien. Some occur in the seemingly modest works of people who choose to regard those around them with extraordinary compassion. Sometimes goodness can seem inexpicably courageous and even miraculous.
The authors in Almost Heaven--who write from diverse traditions and viewpoints--include Chester Aaron, Alai, Nick Bozanic, Sur Das, W. S. Di Piero, Brian Doyle, Thomas Farber, Gene Frumkin, Eduardo Galeano, Forrest Gander, James D. Houston, Barry Lopez, Patrick Madden, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sanat Regmi, Michelle Cruz Skinner, Lisa Erb Stewart, and John Zuern. Also included are extraordinary images reproduced from glass-plate negatives made at Kalaupapa, Moloka'i, in the early twentieth century, from the collection of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts United States Province.